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August 28, 1999

Venus Williams


Q. You got to be pretty pleased with the way you played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I played pretty good. I think -- I don't know how many doublefaults I had, but when I did get my first serve if I was serving well and I think toward the second set she started finding I guess some rhythm on the serve which maybe not going for as much a bigger turn just getting it back in play which is a good strategy, a lot of breaks, eventually I was able to pull it out.

Q. What does beating Monica and also Lindsay on successive days do to your confidence going into the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To me -- well, I don't know -- I know I can play well and I had wins over both those players previously. So I feel I can go out there and win the matches. But as far as having a win, a tournament win is better than having a tournament loss going into a Grand Slam. That is how I feel.

Q. Give you a lot of confidence going to the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am feeling good about playing the big points when it gets to 30-All. When you are not -- when you are serving or when you are not serving I am feeling good about playing those larger points so that is important.

Q. What are you doing better against her now than you were earlier? She says maybe little more consistency against her, before she has been able to kind of wait you out from the base lane --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, in the past she just would overpower me. When you are getting overpowered you kind of rush and you make the error, but now it is just -- it is not the same anymore. I am not as young and I have better techniques, so things aren't the same anymore. I don't feel overpowered when I play her.

Q. Is that just confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me going out there and working hard and improving. I really -- I worked hard for all of December, before the year started. It wasn't enough. Actually I was -- I had to go work hard for another two, three weeks before I was really able to get back on my game. So it was really a lot of work.

Q. Do you feel you are ready to win a major?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I have been ready and I was ready for the first one, first one I played.

Q. That is very true.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It didn't seem -- I guess it wasn't the right time. Just waiting for that right time and hopefully this will be the right time, but if it's not the right time next time will be the right time.

Q. You don't ever seem to feel any pressure of expectation, there has been so much expectation year in year out, people talking about you as a heavy favorite, you don't seem to feel that kind of pressure --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I if I didn't feel I had a chance to win I can go home and get a lot of other things done. I don't feel the pressure. It is just a game, I enjoy playing it. This is what I want to do right now. And if I don't do my best, I have another chance. If I don't do as well, just go out and work a little harder. But you have to take it all in stride.

Q. Feel like that is something that not enough other athletes do, maybe they put a little too much pressure on themself --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not sure about the other athletes. Sports is so competitive these days, so everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. I have little bit, but not any of the Grand Slam titles yet. I guess that is the cake.

Q. Four women have cleaned up on the summer circuit so far. Do you think --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me, Serena, Lindsay and Hingis.

Q. Yes. Do you think that is where the US Open champion will come from?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It seems like the most likely place. Both of us -- all four of us are going to be on top of our games. I am going to rally Serena up. She is going to rally me up. We are going to get ourselves going. Some reason I fall by the wayside, I am going to really pushing behind her, Serena don't do like me; likewise. So just as long as it is good tennis, I think that is the most important thing.

Q. When you say rally each other up, what sort of form does that take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on, Serena, please don't hit that ball flat. Get under it, un-der. Things like that. So if I am doing well, she is doing well, it is like the same thing, both of us have a win.

Q. You have gone from a year ago you were 3 and 5 in Finals; now you are 5 and 3 this year. Are you approaching the Finals any differently or do you just consider it another match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in the past I was a little less experienced and people could pull tricks on me or I would actually start rushing, things like that. Not that I didn't think I could win. I just wasn't able to make the right decisions in order to win. I think this year I have done a little better with that, especially in the latter part of the year.

Q. Third game of the match was five deuces. I don't remember how many points. (Inaudible.) Was that sort of a big point in that match to kind of get through that -- you are on serve trying to hold serve is that sort of a key to the match for you early on to get on top of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because those good holds are pretty well. It is great when you win them, but you feel it more when you lose them. That is how it is. I guess when she lost that she didn't feel as great as I did when I won that game. So it is important to try to hold serves and to get the first set under your belt. Because the other player feels a little bit more pressure to stay in the match. I know I have been in those situations a lot of times, lost the first set, so I was at the advantage.

Q. Was it getting difficult in the second set not to really get frustrated with the fact that neither of you were holding serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never get frustrated as a player. I just feel like, okay, I have to get the next opportunity. I am never -- I wouldn't say maybe once or twice in my career I have been kind of upset. Yeah. And I guess everyone knew. I don't really get frustrated. I just feel like, okay, I lost serve I have to break, so finally at 5-4 couldn't believe I kept losing serve like that. I wasn't serving too badly. She was returning much better; then I would kind of make an error which is not too logical to say the least, but I wasn't frustrated.

Q. Your talent has definitely been there the next couple of years. Last few days you said that your concentration was what you have been really trying to work on not losing when you are up 40-Love. You lost the first game of the set, almost like her strategy would have worked when she broke you right away. Came right back and broke her ......

VENUS WILLIAMS: That happened the last match too the second set I lost my serve, but you just have to break back. I returned serves very well and I get quite a few balls on the run so I had a lot of things to work with besides my serve. I felt I would to have break back; I kept breaking back and she kept breaking back.

Q. Down double set point. How much were you dreading going to a third?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just losing racket speed a lot on my forehand. She kept getting to it and trying to get that error; sometimes I was giving it to her. So at that point I said I am going to keep my racket speed and just hit the ball. I managed to get those next two points and then the match.

Q. Fans say that there is a higher intensity level that they have seen with the women in this tournament than they did with the men. Do you think that is accurate?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not too sure. I haven't been to too many men's tournaments. I guess the men's game is a little bit more less rallies, I would say. The ladies everyone is kind of fighting each other, slugging it out and it is still quite a lot of pace and I know I hit the ball hard, Lindsay does. Last night playing Monica it was a quick game, boom, boom, boom. So I think there is enough consistency, enough power and just enough of everything to kind of make it real interesting and very intense for the fans.

Q. You have beaten Lindsay twice now in a row. Do you feel you have established any sort of mental edge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not sure how she is feeling about playing against me. What is most important is I am prepared to play against whoever I play and know that they most likely will want to win so I have to be ready to pull the win for myself.

Q. Besides Serena who would you say is your biggest rival?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have played Lindsay quite a few times and in the last year -- this year we are two and two. Other years it was not too good for me. I was young; didn't understand too much and I would say with Hingis the first year in 1997 when I first got on the Tour she got three wins. After that it has been pretty even. Unless I kind of start playing bad and making bad decisions.

Q. I have to ask you about the fan who was sitting with your dad, the one with the beaded wig. He says he has met you at other tournaments. What is your reaction to the kind of support?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If he likes it, I love it.

Q. There are certain players that every player on the way up has to learn how to beat and sort of conquer? You know what I mean? A lot of players always seem to have that one player that gives them trouble. Once they learn how to beat that player seems like they really take off. Certain players that you have to Davenport being one that you have to learn thousand beat .....

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just had a bad record with Davenport in the past. I guess right now looking at the record I am still at a disadvantage. This year I am doing good. I was just -- in the past I was just overpowered and now things are different. I have gotten older, stronger, I have gotten better, so I would say she is a player that has the most wins over me.

Q. You seem very bubbly in here and talking to people about on the court you don't show much emotion. Why is that? Are you just extremely focused? Is there no place or reaction out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, a match like this is very important. I am trying to be focused on every point. I want every point for myself. Pretty selfish out there. But as for her, I am not playing tennis, I am not competing with anyone in this room. So it is different.

Q. How is it different for your life? You have been in the limelight for the last few years, if you win the US Open whatever happens, does it take away from your tennis game? How does your family react? You are going to probably be innundated -- (inaudible)

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.

Q. How much does that go through the back of your mind, something like that, you are in the limelight now, big change of life for yourself, your family - distracts from your tennis game itself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I don't think so. I think it just gets a little bit fatiguing doing interviews. I have been doing interviews since I was little, 11, 12 now it is kind of gaining on me. It is like the same questions. These interviews are more better the press conference, but one-on-ones they just get like the same question. I don't understand why they need to ask me the question. They can get it from another article. That is how I feel. Please, ask different questions.

Q. What would you ask Venus Williams that you haven't been asked before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: So Venus, when is the last time you have been to Dunkin Donuts.

Q. Venus, when was the last time you have been to Dunkin Donuts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Only reason I haven't been lately is because I have been overseas and then I haven't been home so much or else driving by I might make that lefthand turn and it gets pretty tough.

Q. Are you looking forward to the release of your new dress collection next week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really have an outrageous dress. It is really going to be tough on me to get in it. And I am really -- actually what I need to do is just put it on and start wearing it now and getting comfortable with it. Unfortunately it is my own design, it is my own fault, but I never -- I never thought they would pick that one. I thought they'd pick another one because I submited at least 15 designs. Before I knew it, I have to be in it.

Q. They wouldn't let you wear it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I need to just get on the practice court at the US Open and just start practicing in it so I can get comfortable with the feeling. It is -- yeah.

Q. What is so different about it that you have got to get comfortable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just only has one sleeve and -- but it is lycra and it is going to stay up. But then it has a cut out right here also. So for me it was just kind of just experimenting with the design, but before I knew it was in production. Now I love it. But it is really just daring.

Q. They wouldn't let you wear it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it is for the Open: I like my dresses now. I kind of like the one I had on today that didn't even come together, but I can just mix and match I have so many different colors, it is great.

Q. Have you and Serena sat down and watched the Lipton Open final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We don't watch that match. We played so bad. I was playing some of my worse tennis. She played even worse. We just don't watch it. We will get pretty sick to our stomachs.

Q. Is there something inside your ring?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Glitter. It was like a 50 cent store piece and every one loves it. I don't know.

ANNE WORCESTER: I have a special little presentation for Venus. It will take one minute. Many of you know that when we created our new logo and renamed the tournament this year we used the Steffi Graf icon as the defending champion on our stationery and business cards. Earlier in the week, Venus and I were together, she happened to see one of our business cards. She grabbed it and said, what is that. I said Steffi Graf's icon defending. She said I want to be on those business cards. This is four days later, she comes down to the court, she has just won the final of the Pilot Pen and what is first thing she says out in the court dignitaries. "Now I can be on the business cards." So, Venus, I need to get these into production just like you and your dresses. I did want you to leave New Haven with a little cut and paste stuff so I made one for you to take away.


ANNE WORCESTER: Congratulationss. We can't wait for you to come back next year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. Thanks.

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